Better, Safer Surfing with Internet Explorer and the Classic Mac OS

I recently wrote some short articles on running Internet Explorer (IE) 5.1.7 in OS 7.6.1 (with the help of the Appearance Manager 1.0.4 SDK) and ResEditing OS 7.6.1 to believe it is OS 8.1. That is the way I am doing it myself, but the stuff here could help you, even if you’re running a different version of the Mac OS.

Internet Explorere 5.1 for MacThese should work in Mac OS 8.1 as well, but in some cases 7.6.1 needs the aforementioned mods – and with System 7.5.5, you’re on your own, as I have not done any testing with it.

Should You Be Running IE 5.1.7?

Here is a simple answer: Yes, from System 7.5.5 through 8.1 – but in OS 8.6 go for WaMCom (download WaMCom here), in OS 8.5 use iCab 3.0.3, and if you are running 7.1 through 7.5.3, use iCab 2.9.9b. (iCab 2.9.9 is nearly as compatible as IE 5.1.7, but the CSS is not fully implemented, so turn it off.)

Update: Classilla has replaced WaMCom as the best port of Mozilla to the Classic Mac OS, fully supporting OS 9 and probably compatible with OS 8.6 as well. (If you’ve tested it in Mac OS 8.6, please share your findings in the comments.)

After some mathematical help from fingers and toes, you will find the answer for the question to be: Use IE 5.1.7 with Mac OS 7.5.5, 7.6, 7.6.1, 8.0, and 8.1.

Internet Explorer 5.1.6 on Classic Mac OS

It is nice to be anti-Microsoft, but don’t cripple yourself just for the fun of it, as there really is no substitute for IE 5.1.7 with these versions of the Mac OS.

Cookies and Cache

The security loopholes of IE were fixed in 5.1.7, but here are two apps you will want to use anyway: Cache Killer Pro II ($14 shareware) and Cookie Dog 1.1 ($6 shareware).

Unlike some other browsers, IE cannot delete cookies and clear its cache by itself – and deleting manually ain’t no fun. Semi-manual deleting is available for users of Aladdin Spring Cleaning 3.5 (long discontinued), which can also be found as an add-on in Norton SystemWorks 1.0 ($10 from FastMac).

There is some info that Cookie Dog 1.2.x should run from 7.5 and up, so you could try it first, as the site where 1.1 is still available just started to ask for a log-in – in Italian. I have downloaded a lot of rare share/freeware in English for the 7.6.1 from there in the past, so if you don’t mind figuring out the log-in/subscribe, please do. I have not done it yet myself.

Yeah, delete cache and do not eat the cookies – those are bad for you. Unless you really have to, in which case you can choose which cookies to keep with Cookie Dog, to make automatic log-ins and such possible for selected and trusted sites.

Firewall and Antivirus

There are no new viruses for the Classic Mac OS, so why use an antivirus app? And wouldn’t Disinfectant be enough? Nope. You are using an old OS, so you will be downloading old apps, and some of those may still carry a payload of an old virus. Disinfectant is wonderfully well made and easy to use, but it cannot detect macro viruses targeting IE, Outlook Express, and Microsoft Office.

Then there is the question of Windows viruses, which are plentiful. They cannot harm you, but why would you pass those to your friends? Most people don’t know even the basics of their PCs, although they may be masters in that one app they use for a living. Back-ups, upgrades, vir defs? What are you talking about? So keep your friends out of harm.

I am using Norton Personal Firewall 2.0 and Norton Antivirus 7.02 – both of these are cheap “eBayware”, easy to use and easy to get. Neither should work fully in Mac OS 7.6.1, but both do with the OS mods – including NAV’s automatic virus def update. The CDs I have also includes versions for OS X, if one is so inclined.

There are alternatives for each of these, but one can be hard to find, and the other is expensive, but both work. They are Virex 5.9 for antivirus and IPNetSentry for firewall (please check out the latter’s site for more info of their products). With one exception, all of these work in stock OS 7.6.1 without the Appearance Manager, and Virex actually work from OS 7.1 upward, making it a real beauty if one is running all kind of Macs between 7.1 and 9.x. Trying to locate it on eBay could prove be difficult.

Virus definition updates are available for Virex 5.9 until the end of this year. The current ones are for version 6.2, and SpeedScan and Snapshot do not work for licensing reasons, making 5.9 a bit slower. If you can find a vir def for v. 6.1, you should have those options working. But I doubt the possibility to locate an old vir def. My v 5.9 came with defs from 1998, and I used it with the latest defs.

QuickTime, Real Player, Windows Media Player, Shockwave, and Flash

Check the download links for QuickTime 5.0.5, Real Player 8, Windows Media Player 7.1, Shockwave, and Flash player 5 at the end of the article. Of these, only Flash and QT will run without the OS modifications.

Things I Use, but You Don’t Have To

  • Web Free 1.1 – This will block ads fine when used with IE 5.1.7. Start using it by checking only the option: Block The Following Tags. Choose a wrong option or browser and things will sloooow down.
  • iGetter 1.9.5 – You will find a separate download manager to be faster than the built-in one, and if you are doing large downloads, iGetter is able to continue after an interruption without starting from the beginning.
  • Web Confidential 2.2.2 – A good password/PIN-code and whatnot manager that works fine in modified 7.6.1, although it should need OS 8.1.
  • URL Manager Pro – Frankly, this is something I like, but you could find it cumbersome when compared for the one in IE. Allow yourself some time to find the best way for using it. Things I like: Making backups of my URLs or exporting those as text files. I am using 2.0 (you can Google for this German version; it’s easy to find), but 2.8fc2 for OS 8.1 works in 7.6.1 as such, unlike 2.7.1 for 8.0! These two latter ones are still available from the author’s site, also in English.

Running an OS from the Stone Age doesn’t mean you’re left out of all the fun. Mac OS 7.6.1 (with the Appearance Manager 1.0.4 SDK and ResEdited to fake OS 8.1) really is fast, reliable, and modern enough for everyday use.

by the way. Outlook Express 5.0.6 runs great in the modified OS 7.6.1, giving an option for using the SweetMail, adding HTML and giving more choices for a default character set for unlabeled messages.

Software Links

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